This report intends to explain why Consumer trust in the legitimacy of news found on social platforms and search engines is falling according to a study (annual Trust Barometer) by PR firm, Edelman.
The study indicates a continued drop in the trust levels for news delivered on digital platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google for general news and information from 53% in 2017 and 54% in 2016, to now 51% by the start of 2018.
The study highlights how misinformation negatively affected the digital news consumption experience in 2017:
- Consumer trust in news found on platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter decreased in 21 of the 28 countries surveyed. Consumer sentiment comes as major digital platforms struggled with high-profile fake news and blunders in recent years. Last year, it was revealed that Russian-linked entities purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of ads across Facebook, Google, and Twitter to spread divisive content and fake news to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
- 63% of respondents agreed the average consumer can’t distinguish between credible journalism and fake news. And prominent digital companies like Facebook and Google haven’t been able to improve their algorithms to prevent misinformation from being spread.
This could be especially problematic for Facebook, which is the No. 1 destination for sharing content among users aged 18-34, according to BI Intelligence’s Digital Trust Survey.
On the other side, consumers trust towards traditional and online-only media publishers is growing. 59% percent of respondent’s trust journalism, digital publishers, and media companies for general news and information, up from 54% in 2017.
This growth shows that users are increasingly seeking out information from trusted publishers as fake news stories inadvertently go viral on digital platforms.
Facebook, where nearly half of US adults get their news, is looking to aid discovery of valid of news sources. The company announced last week it would begin promoting content in the News Feed from publishers deemed as trustworthy by users.
However, trust is timely. In an era in which fake news is trending, and brands are pulling advertising from large publishers because they don’t want their messaging associated with offensive content, trust is a critical factor that brands consider when re-evaluating digital ad strategies.
Digital trust is the confidence people have in a platform’s ability to protect and promote the interests of its users.
Now this these insights should be a critical factor that big brands and marketers should use as an aide to make informed decisions about where to spend their marketing and branding dollars.
In a wrap, these are some of the key notes that we can take from this study;
- Digital trust has been shaken by a proliferation of malicious content and data breaches, which has significant consequences for brands that use these platforms.
- The top platform won by a huge margin on most attributes. Content on this platform is more likely to be viewed as forthright and honest, which increases the persuasiveness of ads and marketing messages that appear alongside it. This also creates ideal conditions for thought leadership and branded and sponsored content to flourish.
- The second-ranked platform was bolstered by users’ confidence sharing content they find there. Users were most apt to share content they found there, which, together with its massive audience and high engagement, makes it the right platform to maximize reach.
- The social platform that finished dead last did so because of its abusive comments section and extremely annoying ads. Still, this hasn’t dissuaded people from visiting, as evidenced by the time spent monthly and massive user base. This platform also resonates more with older generations.
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